Nita Bhalla
October 11, 2013

India’s weather office may be underestimating the severity of a cyclone which is hurtling towards the east coast, a meteorologist warned on Friday, adding that it could be worse than Hurricane Katrina which devastated parts of the United States in 2005.

Cyclone Phailin is forecast to hit the coast between Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh state and Paradip in Odisha state late on Saturday with a maximum wind speed of 220 km per hour (135mph), the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest bulletin.

But both London-based Tropical Storm and the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre forecast winds reaching 315 km per hour (195 mph) on landfall, classifying Phailin as a Category 5 storm – the most powerful.

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